A few weeks ago I went on a tour of the Amstel House in New Castle, Delaware. This is an historic home in the historic town where William Penn first landed in America. Our tour guide shared with us various tidbits from the home’s history. Most notably, George Washington once honored the owners, the Van Dyke family, by attending a wedding in the parlor. According to the guide, General Washington stood by the fireplace and “kissed all of the pretty girls, as was his wont.” And then he enjoyed an evening of dancing.
GW, what a party animal.
She also pointed out a chair where another famous guest, the Marquis de Lafayette, once sat. It was an otherwise unremarkable chair, but we gazed at it with all the admiration due a piece of furniture inhabited–albeit briefly–by America’s favorite Frenchman.
As we were leaving the room with the fireplace and the chair, the tour guide also reminded us that, in Colonial times, people moved furniture on a regular basis. Tables, sofas, chairs–these were shuffled around to accommodate whatever happening was happening on any given day. In Colonial times, unlike today, visitors did not hang out in the kitchen, so all the action took place in the parlor. If food was served, the parlor’s table was set in the middle of the room. If there was dancing, the table was pushed to the wall. If the men wanted to talk, chairs were brought close together. If women wanted to do needlework, chairs were moved toward the best light source.
We also viewed the kitchen of Amstel House. It was small, though big enough for the times. One wall featured a bricked, walk-in hearth and built-in furnace. The thought of preparing a meal there, in a long skirt, with an open fire at your feet, made me back away and break out in a sweat.
But I digress. What the Colonial families did with their furniture was not considered redecorating. It was making a change to suit an event.
This is how I view my ever-changing look here, except rather than an event, I change to suit my mood. Conventional wisdom says authors should develop a set look, a brand, that is easily recognizable. I see the sense in that, but I also rebel against it.
It seems savvy enough to have a series of books, or an author’s body of work, bear an easily recognizable look. But is it necessary for a blog? Does it matter?
So tell me. Do you find a theme change disconcerting? Do you change your website’s look just for fun? Do you even notice when it happens?